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Ottawa Public Health, doctor's offices and pharmacies begin rolling out the flu vaccine this week


Ottawa residents can roll up their sleeve starting this week and get the flu shot.

Starting Monday, the general public will be able to receive the influenza vaccine at pharmacies and doctor's offices across the city of Ottawa.

"The vaccine will be available for anyone six months and over starting Nov. 1 in many pharmacies. It is available across the city, as well as many physicians' offices," said Marie-Claude Turcotte, manager of immunization with Ottawa Public Health.

"Last year, many physicians were not necessarily seeing client face-to-face, but this year is a different reality. The vaccine is widely available in the community."

This year, Ottawa Public Health is offering targeted vaccination clinics for the following groups to address barriers to the flu shot.

Children aged six months to two years and their household members

Individuals experiencing barriers to getting the flu vaccine, which includes:

  • Being a newcomer to Canada
  • Having no Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card
  • Having no primary care provider, such as a doctor or nurse, and those who have had difficulty accessing the vaccine at a pharmacy

Individuals in those age groups can book their flu vaccine appointment on the Ottawa Public Health website, with appointments starting Nov. 2.

"We are taking a targeted approach this year and really making sure that we offer the vaccine to people who may have barriers in accessing pharmacies because of age, because they don't have an OHIP or they don't have a family physician," said Turcotte.

Associate medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney says OPH will not be hosting flu vaccination clinics for the general population this year in anticipation of hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics for the five to 11 year-old age group once the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is approved.

"One of the things that's going to be different for us from an operational standpoint is that we're anticipating doing a lot of COVID vaccine this fall, and are really looking to our partners of other delivery channels to be having a great role with the vaccine," said Moloughney.


Ottawa pharmacist Jordan Clark says he's already seeing a huge demand for the flu shot.

"We've seen a big response already, people calling or coming into the store," said Clark, owner of the Shoppers Drug Mart on Richmond Road. "Nov. 1 is when we start with the general population, so we do expect a big response."

Clark says getting vaccinated against the flu will help prevent a rise in hospitalizations during the fourth wave of the pandemic.

"Think about this time last year, we didn't have kids in hockey rinks, we didn't have people attending hockey games, you didn't have people gathering they way we do now," said Clark in an interview with CTV News at Noon last week.

"So I think now that things are a bit more open, people are a bit more relaxed it's really important that we're getting that vaccine. Doing anything we can, not just to protect ourselves but to protect the health care system. We don't want to do anything that can put an extra strain on our health care workers, on our hospitals at this important time."

Clark recommends calling the pharmacy to book an appointment to get the flu shot.

Ottawa Public Health notes the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends all people six months of age and over receive the flu vaccine each year.

"This year with the presence of COVID-19 circulating in the community, it is especially important for high risks groups to get the flu vaccine to reduce the potential risk of having COVID-19 and influenza at the same time," said OPH on its website. Top Stories

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